Is this a case of reverse 'discrimination' or 'the chickens coming home to roost?'
How ironic--a Black woman, who was an official in Georgia for the US Department of Agriculture, (USDA) has resigned after publicly admitting she did not do all that she could have done, in her official capacity, to help a White man save his farm. In other words, a Black woman discriminated against a White man and instead suggested that he would be better served by a White person.
As a result of the incident, Shirley Sherrod, a Black USDA official was forced to resign. In describing her remarks, she said, "I was speaking to that group, like I've done many groups, and I tell them about a time when I thought the issue was race and race only."
However, it did not seem to satisfy the feeding frenzy and according to the reports, Tom Vilsack, Secretary of USDA accepted her resignation, saying there was "zero tolerance for discrimination at USDA."
In an interview with CNN, Sherrod said her remarks to the NAACP were being intentionally misconstrued by conservative groups stoking racial tensions. She said that she had been describing an incident she had encountered about 24 years ago while she was working for a non-profit aid group. She stated, "I was telling the story of how working with him helped me to see the issue is not about race. It's about those who have versus those who do not have," which seemed a plausible explanation.
The NAACP's President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous, issued the following statement today after learning of the resignation of Shirley Sherrod of the United States Department of Agriculture: "Since our founding in 1909, the NAACP has been a multi-racial, multi-faith organization that--while generally rooted in African American communities--fights to end racial discrimination against all Americans."
Ironically, Sherrod was attending an NAACP banquet when the remarks were allegedly made, which were apparently blasted over You Tube. The NAACP approved of the Secretary's actions.
Jealous's statement continued: "Racism is about the abuse of power. Sherrod had it in her position at USDA. According to her remarks, she mistreated a White farmer in need of assistance because of his race. We are appalled by her actions, just as we are with abuses of power against farmers of color and female farmers.
"Her actions were shameful. While she went on to explain in the story that she ultimately realized her mistake, as well as the common predicament of working people of all races, she gave no indication she had attempted to right the wrong she had done to this man. The reaction from many in the audience is disturbing. We will be looking into the behavior of NAACP representatives at this local event and take any appropriate action."
Though it seemed to be the appropriate course of action for the NAACP to join in the chorus of condemnation, did they 'jump the gun'? Some national news commentators were wrestling with the idea that Sherrod's explanation was contrite and her resignation may have been a rush to judgment.
The NAACP's statement went on: "We thank those who brought this to our national office's attention, as there are hundreds of local fundraising dinners each year. Sherrod's behavior is even more intolerable in light of the US Department of Agriculture's well documented history of denying opportunities to African American, Latino, Asian American, and Native American farmers, as well as female farmers of all races. Currently, justice for many of these farmers is being held up by Congress. We would hope all who share our outrage at Sherrod's statements would join us in pushing for these cases to be remedied."
In mentioning the plight of the thousands of African American, Latino, Asian and Native American farmers who have been denied justice relative to the policies of the USDA in general and the government in Washington, D.C., in particular, the appropriate question to be raised is: Has the NAACP been as forceful in its outrage about the racism and discrimination that they have been constantly and continuously fighting against?
The next part of the statement said: "The NAACP will continue to advance the ideals of America and fight for freedom, justice and fairness for all Americans."
Does that include farmers of color?